Many birds travel stunning distances when the seasons call. Bird migration has been the subject of much study and many stories. Some fanciful, some exaggerated, some true. Many birds are defined by their migration journeys. Many people travel lesser distances when the seasons call. Holidays have been the subject of much study and many stories. Some fanciful, some exaggerated, some true. Many people are defined by their holiday destinations. In the past, people wanted to know where the birds went, what it meant when they came back and what hands guided them across the vastness of the world. Humans invented stories to account for these movements. Some fanciful, some exaggerated, some true. Storytelling as explanation may be hardwired into the brain, indeed storytelling may have given us our brain. Our storytelling brain gave us Swifts that live in the winter mud of ponds, geese that lived inside barnacles and the Bible. It seems some stories have more tenacity than others! Early huma
Showing posts from January, 2010
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In a comment about my last post RB talked about the work the Charles Darwin had done on the movement of seeds on the feet of birds. That got me thinking about some pictures I had not used. So here they are. Looking at footprints is like looking into the past. A kind of ghost image that allows you to pay attention after the chance moment of observation has slipped by. Sand, mud, feet, claws. All linked to form a pattern and the pattern tells you something. Something different from seeing the (in this case) bird, something different from having the bird in the hand. It’s a different way of knowing the same thing. Seeds and birds feet. Islands and colonization. It make me wonder what role cars, boots, sleeping mats and fishing nets play in the movement of weeds. What travelers do we bring when we visit the special places we love? What footprints do we leave that others may find? What do we bring that could spell change for the islands of naturalness we visit?
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Trip to a sewage works anybody? No? How about getting up at 4.30am two days after Christmas? No? Still not interested? I know! Let’s get up at 4.30am two days after Christmas and visit a sewage works! So here I am, early in the morning, possibly the only person awake for 500m in any direction, getting ready to drive to the Werribee sewage works – rebadged as WTP (Western Treatment Plant), but it’s not fooling anybody. The trip along the Geelong Road was unsurprisingly quiet. Yet even here there were things to be seen. Mists hugged some fields and fled from others. Some fields were bare, others clothed in white. There seemed to be no pattern. Cows floated, seemingly legless in the mist. The scene looked African. On a side road, a fox dashed from the mist, seeking food, a hare froze, seeking sanctuary in stillness. The mist cleared to show the You Yangs, Melbourne’s asymmetrical western hills. If these were the Pap’s of Melbourne they would be scheduled for cosmetic surgery. Werrib